The essential gear to make an overlanding trip as safe and comfortable as possible include some main categories of gear that covers the main aspects of overlanding. In a nutshell, there are five categories of gear that must be fleshed out to your specific needs and overlanding arena. The categories include: Vehicle, Kitchen, Sleep, Activities, Security/Medical and Housekeeping.

The vehicle category is all things car or truck related. This is maintenance, tires, recovery, repair, and fuel. Maintenance and repair are not only about key tools but about spare parts for common issues that may come up with your vehicle. A great way to find out common issues to talk to a mechanic that specializes on your brand of vehicle or visit forums on the topic.

Kitchen includes food, table, chairs, cooking, eating, clean up, and food storage. The kitchen aspect of your overland adventure should not be overlooked. ” An army marches on its stomach. To be effective, an army relies on good and plentiful food.” – Napoleon Bonaparte. The same holds true for an overlanding adventure. Mess up your kitchen plan and it might be your last trip.

Sleep is shelter, sleeping bag or system, pad, comfort (pillow, pajamas, etc.), and night lighting. When thinking through your sleep plan, make sure you are planning for bad weather. Think about what you anticipate the temperature to be and plan for it to get 30 degrees colder. Activities include clothing, outerwear, sports equipment (bikes, fishing gear, climbing, etc.), footwear and eyewear.

Security is key when you are overlanding. You don’t have to be Rambo but most places that you will stay, there will be no 911 to call when things go high and right. Make sure to plan well for two legged and four legged predators as well as a beefed up medical kit. The $10 medical kit from Target will just not do. And finally, housekeeping is all other things including first aid, safety and security, hygiene, clothes washing, toiletries, cleaning, navigation, and paperwork (money, travel documents, maps, etc.). 

Each of the categories is identified by its part of the average overlanding day, and the challenges that are common to overlanding. While this is not a list, but rather a set of topics upon which lists are built, the five categories do provide that piece of mind when wondering if all bases are covered before heading out.

As one builds out a personal overlanding kit, there will be overlap across the categories, but as long as distinct and purposeful attention is given to each of the five categories, you will be prepared for the adventure that awaits. Just remember, that overpacking can be just as limiting as underpacking.